Graça Freitas during the usual press conference on Covid-19 in Portugal stated that “Portuguese legislation allows a vaccine to be used in an epidemic and in defence of public health to be mandatory.”

The prime minister announced the purchase of 6.9 million vaccines against Covid-19, worth €20 million, adding that in Portugal vaccination will be “universal and free”.

Asked about the possibility of making the vaccination mandatory, when the vaccine is available, the director-general of Health explained that this decision depends on several factors that include a “deep analysis of society” and the characteristics of the medicine.

“If the vaccine is, in fact, extremely effective and the added value for public health is very large, it can be considered a mandatory vaccination methodology”, she explained, adding that if it is a vaccine with a lower degree of effectiveness, the decision may be different.

In the case of the vaccine now purchased, this information is not yet available and, therefore, this decision cannot be made for now.

During the press conference, the president of Infarmed, Rui Santos, said that the 6.9 million vaccines acquired by Portugal constitute the first batch and that the acquisition of other vaccines is currently being negotiated by the European Union, in order to ensure a greater variety.

According to Rui Santos, among the 165 vaccines currently under development, 26 are already in the clinical phase, four of which are in the last phase of development and are at a more advanced stage.

In addition to influencing the decision on whether the vaccine is mandatory, the characteristics of the medicine may also be influenced by the number of doses required to ensure immunity and the definition of priority groups.